It’s all in the details at Josephine House. They warm up your coffee mug if it gets too cold. The bar and table tops are all the same marble. A beautiful cake stand showcases three slices of almost-too-pretty-to-eat cake. Even the staff’s aprons appear to have been chosen with great care.
Josephine House feels like an extension of a good friend’s kitchen. The cottage is small but doesn’t feel crowded. When we step in, a white marble-top bar beckons. If we lived around the corner, this would be just the spot for a happy hour drink before dinner. (It’s an all-day place.)
We’re led to the airy patio for weekday breakfast. The white iron-wrought chairs are just slightly too reclined, but everything else is lovely. Cut-out wooden booths are made cozier with pillows, and bistro lights hang from a stately oak tree.
The Nutella morning bun is a must, accompanied by some of the best coffee in Austin. (It’s actually from San Francisco’s Intelligentsia.) The bun has what seems like 100 layers, with the perfect amount of Nutella swirled in. A sugary dusting adds crunch.
Thick lemon ricotta pancakes would make my grandmother proud. The ricotta makes them creamy and lemon zest cuts through nicely. Texas-sized blackberries circle the rim. They’re drizzled with maple syrup, and you can request more if you like. (We did.)
Huevos rancheros arrive with sunny side-up eggs, black bean, ranchero sauce, a few pickled onions, and queso fresco. What sets this apart is a homemade corn tostada that’s golden brown and so satisfyingly crunchy.
The egg sandwich is nestled next to spicy arugula and at first seems simple. Its scrambled eggs are tender; its chicken sausage patty is juicy and flavorful. And the house-made English muffin is layered with a harissa aioli and a slice of white cheddar.
The Grits and Greens bowl with braised bitter greens and almost tangy roasted mushrooms: Its grits are thick and buttery. A poached egg sits on top.
Other diners are meeting friends for a late lunch or having casual meetings in the beautiful spot. It’s the kind of space that invites you to stay as long as you like, with a menu that changes as the day rolls on.